Reflections On The 2009 AWA Conference
Changes for the Better
BY JIM MONEGHAN
Every year the Antique Wireless Association (AWA) puts on a radio meet with flea market, seminars, book fair, auction and more in Henrietta, New York, a suburb of Rochester. Over the last few years, the meet has been getting smaller and smaller. There are many reasons for this, and I will not go into them here.
Apparently the AWA was/is being absorbed by the AWA Museum, a separate but affiliated organization. There was an attempt to make these changes in time for the meet.
This year the radio meet was held in August, as usual, but there were many changes to the flea market portion of the meet. First, sellers could sell as soon as they received their parking assignments on Thursday evening. There was no one around telling you that you couldn't sell until the official opening on Friday morning. This made for a more relaxed and enjoyable evening for all.
Second, there was a huge tent in the center of the parking lot, just like at Extravaganza, the Michigan meet. The tent was there in case of inclement weather, and as it turned out, we used it.
Third, the public was welcome to visit the flea market without paying ridiculous fees to get in. There were many more changes, but these three were the ones that stood out for me.
Friday morning at 4 a.m., I headed outside and believe it or not, I was not the only one out there at that time. By 6 a.m., there were quite a few people roaming around, many more as the morning went on. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and many radios and related items found new homes. Saturday morning was more of the same, just a little slower. Even so, the sales were still brisk for many dealers that I talked to. I myself sold more radios on Friday and Saturday than in the last five years combined at Rochester! I was unable to attend the auction this year, so I don't have any information on it.
After the show, I contacted many dealers, and they all said it was a great show this year. Talking with old friends is the best part of this event for me. It was great to see everyone again and talk radio stuff. A few friends didn't show up this year -- hope they do next year.
I believe everyone who did show up had a good time. Collectors who gave up on this show due to past politics or other reasons really should give it another chance. It is not the same AWA that they knew before. As word gets out about the all-round success of this year's radio meet, and more collectors or dealers come back, next year's meet should be even better!